It’s Hard to Stay Productive! Shout out to NailsBails

This is my new favorite blog this week, like SERIOUSLY:

http://nailsbails.com/

Each pithy post has an even spiffier accompanying cartoon, and this one is called, "One Hundred Hours of Solitude," and it's all about working from home, something I can relate to (and the reason I prefer to run off to Fantasy Treehouses to write). Also, today's is called "The Unbearable Lightness of Sleeping." <3. SWOON.

 

Dear Mr. NB, can we please collaborate on a post about writing/not working/going crazy? Maybe call it, “A Clockwork Orangutan?” Call me! I’m a big fan.

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A Writer’s Rx: Developing a Writing Practice

Photo by lowjumpingfrog, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons license. Rule number one of the timed exercise (freewrite): Don't let your hand stop moving!

If you want to write, I recommend that you first go buy a copy of Natalie Goldberg‘s book Writing Down the Bones. Just go to your local bookshop and have a look at the first few chapters (chapters are typically 1-2 pages long). If you are intrigued, pick it up, along with an empty notebook and a pen. Go home, and set a timer for ten minutes, and do some writing exercises. It will free your soul.*

I won’t belabor this story, but the first time I read Writing Down the Bones, it was the fall semester of my freshman year of college; I was 18 years old and it changed my life. Our freshman composition teacher had assigned it, along with a book of writing mechanics (punctuation, MLA citation rules, and so forth). So when I settled down to read a few chapters of Goldberg’s book, I had no idea what was about to happen. Continue reading

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Getting “Freshly Pressed”: Reflections on Almost a Year of Blogging

This weekend, Girl Meets Formosa was Freshly Pressed. Now I’m steeped in juicy pulp. (Just kidding. I know, that was terrible.)

To explain “Freshly Pressed”: WordPress.com is the location and also the blogging software that I use to host this humble site. Word Press is a very popular blog interface, and needless to say, gets lots of traffic on its homepage. Each weekday, the content editors at Word Press choose 10 posts to feature in a special section on the wordpress.com homepage called “Freshly Pressed” (with a feed to which you can subscribe). This Friday, Girl Meets Formosa was featured in that section for my post “The Fantasy Treehouse.” Thus, my site traffic has increased by an embarrassingly large number of page views in the past two days.

So, Thank You, Word Press!  (Click here to learn more about how blogs are chosen for Freshly Pressed each weekday). And many thanks to you, dear readers, who have supported this blog from its beginning almost a year ago, and have followed my adventures on it!

And to my new readers and subscribers, WELCOME! Continue reading

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The Fantasy Treehouse: Favorite Writing Spaces

Xinbeitou in all of its environmentally sustainable architecture glory, from Beitou Park.

So as I may or may not have mentioned, I have spent the month of July WRITING EVERY DAY…. just about. My initial goal was to write six days a week, and then take a break on either Saturday or Sunday, but then I started devoting my days off to blogging, and/or research interviews, etc, and then I found myself working every day and taking the occasional Wednesday-afternoon burnout break after like two weeks straight. In total in July so far, I have sat down for extended writing time on 24 out of 28 days. Written documentation of this is 2 full notebooks, and 2 more notebooks just begun.

Phew. Continue reading

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Finding Silai: A Search Through History

The view of Silai from Yanping Historic Street, a road that runs through the middle of town and showcases preserved and reconstructed traditional Taiwanese architecture.

In May, I went back to my grandfather Thomas Liao’s hometown of Silai, to meet people, conduct oral history interviews, and look for documents about Thomas’s life, family, and political career.

This was my second trip– the first was a somewhat ill-advised round trip scooter ride from Chiayi City that I did in one day and took 5+ hours. But this time, I had made contact with a very kind host, Stella Chen, who introduced me to everyone she knew in the greater Silai area (between Taichung and Chiayi), and everyone I met introduced me to everyone THEY knew, who might know something about the Liao family, or remember a funny anecdote, share a photo, or take me walking around a historical part of the town.

To say the least: it was intense.

Continue reading

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Silai Musical Interlude

To introduce a series of posts about visiting my grandfather’s hometown of Silai (in Mandarin Siluo, Xiluo, 西螺), here’s a sweet song and video slide show, made by the town’s historical society!! It’s called the Luoyang Culture and Education Foundation, or: 螺陽文教基金會.

So I hope you’ll give it a watch if you want to see how the town looks now– in Silai itself, there are some beautiful historically preserved old buildings, collections of old photographs and books at the historical society, and a traditional soy sauce museum and factory. Continue reading

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Research Update: Liao Wen-Kui in Hong Kong

Dusky, rainy Hong Kong turns on its lights. Taken from a desk at the Hong Kong Public Library-- 1 of the 4 libraries I scoured in 3 days. Who says being a geek isn't fun?!?

I went back to Hong Kong at the end of June, but instead of tourism, boat-related travel, Fulbright conferences, or even Dim Sum being my objective, I went there to visit libraries and try to find out more about Joshua Liao. (Or, Liao Wen-Kui, Wen-Kwei, Wen-Kwui, or Wen-Kuei, depending on your romanization style.)

Joshua was five years older, and was apparently a major figure in Thomas Liao’s life. Continue reading

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